Netomnia partners with Indigo for leading-edge fibre rollout programme that’s transforming UK towns
The two companies are on a mission to connect more premises more quickly to ultrafast fibre broadband.
“Indigo is one of the pillars that helps us achieve our goals. Using our systems and their knowledge, we have been able to accelerate what is possible with fibre rollout.”
Zoltan Kovacs, Director of Operations, Netomnia
A leading UK alternative network (Altnet) operator, Netomnia is to provide 100,000 homes and businesses in 17 towns with 10Gbps fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connectivity by the start of 2022. The company’s plan is to accelerate an already ambitious timeline and reach one million premises by 2023.
Named ‘Altnet Operator of the Year’ at the 2021 Broadband World Forum Awards, Netomnia was recognised for being a PIA (Physical Infrastructure Access) operator at the leading-edge of fibre rollout. “We are growing a lot faster than other Altnets,” explained Zoltan Kovacs, Director of Operations, “currently reaching 20,000 premises a month with a plan to increase it to 100,000.”
The company uses a combination of proprietary systems and third-party expertise to hit the high number of connections. Kovacs said that having the right partners in place is crucial to its business model – one of them is Indigo.
Netomnia is disrupting the UK fibre optic market by bringing digital transformation to the traditional cycle of survey, design, and build. After agreeing on a plan with local councils, surveys are carried out concurrently with High- and Low-Level Design (HLD/LLD) work; digital processes replace paper-based tasks, accelerating time-to-build without compromising the integrity of the network.
“We remove all the unnecessary steps at the design stage to get to the build faster. Our automated tools support fast planning and greater efficiency, with our specialised build partners making any necessary adjustments when needed,” explained Zoltan Kovacs.
Netomnia looks for partners that can embrace its proprietary systems, while adding their own expertise to speed up rollout times. Indigo is a perfect fit for the company, having been on a similar journey of digital transformation, replacing pen-and-paper processes with a desktop-driven approach to design that leverages digital assets.
Members of Netomnia’s management had worked successfully with Indigo on previous fibre projects but still had to be sure its high targets could be met. Kovacs tracked Indigo closely in the first six months, assessing how able it was for the work. He soon knew he had found the right partner. “After three months it was clear they could scale and do the job correctly,” he said.
Brought onboard to take care of the network design stage, Indigo quickly adapted to Netomnia’s way of working. Openreach’s infrastructure has been key for accelerating rollout times, with Netomnia sharing existing ducts where possible.
Build partners work off the same Netomnia system that Indigo uses for design. Any changes that require adjustments to the network to be raised during construction are fed straight back to Indigo. Duct blockages and capacity issues may call for cable to be rerouted, for example, in which case Indigo will devise a fix and deliver an amended design within 24 hours.
By always adhering to a fibre operator’s architecture and rollout methodology, Indigo prides itself on ‘right first time’ planning. Working with Netomnia has been no exception, with over 95% of the packs delivered “RFT”. This is all the more remarkable because of the demanding timelines.
In just three months of working with Indigo, Netomnia was able to pass 15,000 premises a month – a number that would previously have taken a year to reach, according to Zoltan Kovacs. “Indigo is one of the pillars that help us achieve our goals. Using our systems and their knowledge, we have been able to accelerate what is possible with fibre rollout,” he said.
By standardising processes using digital tools and eliminating paperwork, Netomnia can start connecting a new town in as little as four weeks. Survey and design time is compressed and culminates with Indigo plans being accessed on mobile devices by engineers in the field. Build issues are raised and resolved in the same system.
A more strategic approach and stronger partnerships have been essential for Netomnia to achieve its ambitious targets, according to Zoltan Kovacs. He praised Indigo for having the experience and capability to meet its goals, for being able to ramp up faster than competitors and always have the resources available to keep up with the schedule.
Most of all, Kovacs praised Indigo for its flexibility. “Any change request flows straight back to the to the Principal Designer[i] in Indigo, which means the network can be constantly updated,” he said. “They support us all the way through – not just in design but during the build and all the way up to project closure.”
[i] Principal Designer (PD) by formal appointment under the CDM Regs 2015
Download the Netomnia Case Study
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